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A third officer is expected to testify that when analysts in Pfc. Manning’s unit first saw the classified video of a helicopter strike that killed two journalists, they gathered around a monitor to watch it, and afterward debated the ethics of the strike.

Classified material such as the video is supposed to be available to cleared personnel only on a need-to-know basis.

“The way the defense presents it, there was a total lack of adult supervision,” Mr. Aftergood said. “But we’re only hearing one side of the story here.”

He said lax security might be a mitigating factor in the punishment phase, but he wasn’t sure how it could affect a finding of guilt.

“They don’t seem to be arguing that the wrong person was arrested,” he said.